President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock over the death of six persons and economic loss estimated to be about N1 billion to flood by rice farmers in Kebbi State.
President Buhari described the unfortunate development as a major setback in his administration’s efforts towards boosting local food production.
The President, who expressed deep concern over the heavy floods that took a number of lives, submerged thousands of hectares of farmlands and houses, destroying farm produce and personal belongings in the affected communities, noted with dismay that the catastrophe happened at the wrong time.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja on Wednesday.
President Buhari in the statement said, “I am particularly sad over this incident because it’s a setback to our efforts to boost local rice production as part of measures to stop food importation.
“Kebbi State is the focal point of our policy to produce rice locally as part of this administration’s commitment to agricultural revival which suffered relative neglect in favour of food importation.
“With the loss of six lives and still counting; thousands of hectares of land flooded and estimated economic losses of more than one billion Naira by rice farmers in Kebbi State, we face a major setback in our efforts to boost local food production.
“This bad news couldn’t have come at a worse time for our farmers and other Nigerians who looked forward to a bumper harvest this year in order to reduce the current astronomical rise in the costs of food items in the markets.”
The President, while sympathising with the bereaved families and farmers affected by the devastating floods, assured that “we are going to work closely with the Kebbi State government in order to bring relief to the victims.”